If you’re building a website for the first time, it’s hard to know what you really need. You’ve got all these different categories and plan levels to choose between, and if you’re not well versed in this stuff it can get a bit overwhelming.
For those navigating the web hosting question for the first time, our guide can help provide some clarification in the midst of confusion to help you toward the right choice.
Questions to Ask When Choosing a Web Hosting Plan
When starting your search, you need to understand your own needs and priorities. While it is important to seek opinions from peers and research hosting reviews, it is also important to remember that your needs will be unique to your situation. You should ask yourself these seven questions to better understand what you’re looking for.
Do I want to build my website using WordPress?
Almost a quarter of the sites on the web are built on WordPress. It’s the top choice for so many businesses and media companies for good reason: it’s easy to use when you just need something simple, but versatile for those needing something more complex.
Figuring out if you want to stick with the most popular CMS out there is therefore one of the first questions to ask yourself when you’re just getting started. Most web hosting platforms offer plans that make working with a WordPress site especially easy, so if you know that’s your plan, you can quickly identify the web hosting options that work best for you.
Will I be building the website myself or hiring someone?
If you’re building the website on your own with very little experience to speak for, then you’ll want an option that makes designing your website easier.
Look for web hosting plans that include a website builder, either as part of the plan or an affordable add on. Building a website from scratch is hard and requires a good amount of knowledge before you even get started, but most website owners can get by without needing to know all that much if they make use of the resources out there that make it easier.
If you’re hiring someone who really knows their stuff, then you won’t need those resources. Instead, your developer may want the freedom and control that comes with a VPS, which allows for more flexibility in the software you can install and changes you can make. If you plan to hire, talk to your developer in advance to see what they recommend.
Do I need more than one domain?
Consider both if you have more than one domain now, and if you think might want more down the line. A lot of entrepreneurial types have lots of business ideas and end up buying lots of different domains over the years. For every one you create an actual site for, you want to have hosting that covers it.
Most web hosting plans will allow you to host multiple domains – often the number is even unlimited – but some of the most affordable, basic plans only support one. Make sure you know what you’re getting and that it meets your needs.
How much traffic do I expect to receive?
This is one of the most important factors to consider. Even the most basic shared plans can usually support thousands of unique visitors a month. For a majority of websites, especially new ones, that should be satisfactory.
If your website reaches the point where you’ll be receiving more traffic than that, then considering a cloud VPS or a dedicated server that can support higher numbers of visitors is in order. Web users today are very particular about website speed and functionality, so if you need a web hosting plan that can handle those higher numbers; it’s worth making the investment so you don’t lose visitors.
Will my website have an online store?
Starting a website that serves as an online store requires making a few additional considerations. For one thing, you need to have an SSL certificate to ensure all transactions are secure and give your customers the peace of mind that their credit card information is safe with you. For another, you’ll need to invest in ecommerce software that makes setting up an online shopping cart and checkout process possible.
If you want to make these steps seamless and simple, then make sure you choose a business web hosting plan that’s compatible with some of the main ecommerce software choices and either comes with an SSL certificate or makes it easy to purchase one.
How much support will I need?
Every website owner will need some amount of support, but some need more than others. Consider the kind of resources each web hosting provider makes available to help customers learn how to use their hosting platform. If this is your first time, you’ll need some good introductory articles or tutorials to help you through the initial setup.
If you want a customer support team you can turn to for any technical questions, then look for a web hosting plan that includes 24/7 support. The first moment you have a problem, you’ll be glad to have it.
What can I afford?
Very few individuals or businesses are in a position to make this decision without any thought to cost. You can’t let price be your only consideration, but you do need to consider what your budget limitations are before you make a decision.
Most web hosting plans bill either monthly or yearly, so don’t just think in terms of what you can afford now, but whether or not you can manage the costs ongoing. The cheapest plans start at a few bucks a month and for some people reading, they’ll work just fine. If you do need a plan that offers more though, then it’s best to figure that out now rather than later.
This isn’t something you have to figure out on your own. If you could still use additional help navigating this process, let us help you find your plan.